60. Apocrypha, Part IV: Prior to the 1926 World Series, 11-year-old Johnny Sylvester was hospitalized after falling off a horse. A friend of his father brought him autographed baseballs from the Yankees and a promise from Ruth that he would hit a home run for him. Ruth homered four times in the Series against the Cardinals and visited the boy in the hospital after it was over. Sylvester eventually recovered from his injuries. That sequence of events gave birth to a myth in which Ruth visited a dying boy in the hospital and promised he would hit a home run for him that afternoon and the boy experienced a miraculous recovery after Ruth delivered.
Mejia becomes the first major or minor league player to receive a permanent suspension under MLB's drug program. Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton , then in the minor leagues, was suspended several times for drugs of abuse from 2003-05 but was allowed to return each time. During a time when there was not a drug agreement, Steve Howe was suspended for life by Commissioner Fay Vincent in 1992 after the pitcher's seventh drug- or alcohol-related incident. Arbitrator George Nicolau said doctors concluded Howe suffered from attention deficit hyperactive disorder and cut the suspension to time served, which was 119 days.
Many players love to pick the brain of Reds first baseman Joey Votto , who is generally regarded as perhaps the smartest hitter in the game. On a podcast recently, Votto talked about how he came into this year devoted to the task of cutting down on his strikeouts. Votto had racked up 135 strikeouts in 2015 and 120 in 2016, and in his effort to reduce that this year, Votto decided to cut down on his swing as he got deeper into the count -- choking up a little more after one strike, and even more on two-strike counts. At times, Votto seems to wield his bat like a tennis player at the net, volleying pitches foul just to stay alive.